Buying a house is one of the biggest and most exciting investments of your life, and there can be plenty of twists and turns along the road to finding the right home. To ensure that you find the perfect property, it's important to establish your home buying criteria early on in the process. Knowing what you want before you even start looking will help you stay on track, so when you finally purchase a home you can be confident in the choice you've made.
Set Your Priorities
It's important to set your priorities early on, before going out to tour houses. Take a look at online listings to get a feel for what's out there and what you're looking for. Start making a master list of what you need and what you want in a house, listing each item in order of priority. For example, space to set up a home office might trump a walk-in closet.
When you're making your list, make sure it includes criteria for the following items:
- Maximum price
- Size and yard space
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Style of home
Consider Location & Lifestyle
When looking at homes, take your lifestyle into consideration, and whether the location you are looking at will suit. Factor in travel time for your commute to work, schools, parks, the gym, and any other places that you frequent regularly. Organize these places in order of importance, and make sure that the distance from your home to your destination will work for you. If you're absolutely set on a specific area, be ready to compromise on other aspects of your list.
Also consider what you're looking for in terms of lifestyle. Do you want to be in a quiet neighborhood, or would you prefer a busy urban area? Do you love working in the yard and garden, or does the thought of outdoor chores make you cringe? Do you have time to put a little TLC into your home, or are you busy with work and kids? All of these factors are important when looking at buying a home.
Start Touring Homes
Once you've set your home buying criteria, it's time to start touring houses. Make sure you bring along your list, and as you walk through the house, record each item. As you walk through, don't dwell upon things that can be easily fixed; instead take note of the permanent features of the house that could be expensive to change.
It's also important when looking at homes to take your gut instinct into consideration. Even if a house meets all of your criteria, if you immediately dislike it when you walk in the door, it's probably not the one for you. Conversely, if you instantly feel at home, keep that in mind when you're going through your list and notes.
Review Your Notes
Once you've seen several houses, review your notes and make comparisons. Certain houses will stand out over others, and with detailed notes you'll be able to easily compare them. Narrow down your choices, and then revisit the houses for a second viewing. Consider what you're willing to compromise on, and what is a top priority. Your criteria will probably evolve as you move through the buying process and get a better idea of what you're looking for.
It can often be difficult to narrow your home search to a list of prioritized criteria; but if you don't, you could end up wasting time and effort over homes that aren't right for you, and you may overlook something that might be a perfect fit. If you follow these home buying tips to stay organized and on target, you'll be sure to find a home that suits your wants and needs.